The Secular Society Hollins Visitor Program

The Secular Society Hollins Visitor Program brings two distinguished women from various walks of life and professions to campus each academic year for two distinct purposes. The program strives to enhance the knowledge and skills of Hollins students and faculty by exposing them to expertise beyond what is found on campus, and introduce accomplished women to the benefits and enrichment that women’s education and the Hollins experience in particular bestow.

Each visit features a public lecture or performance, participation in classes, informal meetings with students, and events with interested faculty. As part of their commitment to advancing the interests of women and the arts. The Secular Society underwrites the expenses of each visitor selected.


Upcoming Participant in The Secular Society Hollins Visitor Program

Photo of Suzanne DorseySuzanne Dorsey is the executive director of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She will be the plenary speaker for the Sixty-Second Annual Science Seminar. Dorsey received her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University – SUNY, where she conducted research on fish recruitment patterns in coral reefs. She began her professional career teaching at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. She then became the executive director of the Bald Head Island Conservancy. Dorsey was at the helm of the Conservancy for 10 years before taking the position at the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology. She and her colleagues work with interested partners in the region to protect the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay region.

Hollins Science Seminar
March 14, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Babcock Auditorium, Dana Science Building


Past Participants in The Secular Society Hollins Visitor Program

Photo of Michelle FerebeeMichelle Ferebee, Strategy and Business Development Manager for the Aeronautics Research Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center presents “Women of NASA Past, Present, and Future.” Ferebee has been with NASA for 25 years. She has received numerous awards at NASA including the Strategic Leadership for Women NASA Fellowship at Simmons College and has been honored by the Women of Color in STEM for her corporate responsibility.

Hollins Science Seminar
March 14, 2018
7:30 p.m.
Babcock Auditorium, Dana Science Buildi


Talitha WashingtonTalitha Washington, associate professor of mathematics at Howard University, presents “How Modeling Can Explain Our World.” In our ever changing, complex, information-rich world, we increasingly rely on mathematical and statistical modeling to advance our frontiers of knowledge. Even though the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed on July 1, 1940, we did not completely understand the reasons for its collapse until Joseph McKenna Ph.D., presented a nonlinear model in 1999. The relatively recent outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus urgently requires understanding of how it spreads in a society so we can prevent further infections. The burden on law enforcement to keep our society safe can be eased through predictive policing which can create strategies to reduce crime and improve public safety. With models of our world, we can have better bridges, eliminate epidemic diseases, and live in safer communities. Washington is interested in the applications of differential equations to problems in biology and engineering, as well as the development of nonstandard finite difference schemes to numerically solve dynamical systems. She shares her expertise on diversity and mathematics with a wide range of audiences.

Hollins Science Seminar
March 15, 2017
Frances Niederer Auditorium, Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center


Eileen JulienEileen Julien, professor of French and comparative literature at Indiana University, presents “Loss, Love, and the Art of Making Gumbo.” Julien will discuss growing up in the distinctive culture of New Orleans, as portrayed in her memoir, Travels with Mae: Scenes from a New Orleans Girlhood. Julien has done extensive research and writing that explores the connections between Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

October 3, 2016
Hollins Room, Wyndham Robertson Library


Linda PowersLinda Powers has worked discovering life forms in extreme environments. Her expertise ranges from biochemistry to electrical engineering, and she has considerable experience in hemeprotein catalysis, structural biology, and the design and construction of optical and X-ray instrumentation for biomedical applications. Dr. Powers holds the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair for Bioengineering and is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona.  She is now developing technologies for rapid detection of microorganisms.

March 9, 2016
Hollins Science Seminar


Maria AsteriadouMaria Kitsopoulos Photo by Chris LeePianist Maria Asteriadou (left) and cellist Maria Kitsopoulos performed Beethoven’s Second, Third, and Fourth Cello Sonatas. Asteriadou is an acclaimed soloist and chamber musician who has played in major halls in North America and Europe; Kitsopoulos holds The Secular Society Chair in cello at the New York Philharmonic.

September 10, 2015
Talmadge Recital Hall